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Mark Sensinger | In Search of the Perfect Parking Space

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United States - Mass. - Boston

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Latin: Salsa Moods: Type: Background Music
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In Search of the Perfect Parking Space

by Mark Sensinger

Strikingly original melodies embracing a range of Jazz styles--from salsa to bebop, bossa-nova and beyond...
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Yasu Busts a Move
3:41 album only
2. Step Right Up, Win Some Crud
4:55 album only
3. Sean Swings the Bat
3:39 album only
4. Have a Seat, Funny Guy
2:46 album only
5. No More Kickboxing
6:12 album only
6. Kaleidogyn
3:43 album only
7. Where's Tetsu?
4:53 album only


Album Notes
Always a fresh voice in contemporary jazz, Boston-based composer Mark Sensinger serves up a collection seven new, innovative tracks in this latest offering. With a composition voice firmly grounded in "traditional" jazz, his works have nevertheless elicited comparisons to Frank Zappa and King Crimson (a group Sensinger sheepishly admits having never listened to). Combining a keen sense of observation, a deep love for all aspects of musical craftsmanship, and a wry sense of humor, he strives to articulate universal human aspirations from a vantage point that is slightly off-center. As anyone who has driven in Boston knows, the Perfect Parking Space is as much as myth as the Holy Grail or the lost city of El Dorado. Still, as Browning once wrote: "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"

The album's opening track, "Yasu Busts a Move", is an energetic salsa. Close your eyes and imagine you're in a dance hall in Havana...

"Step Right Up, Win Some Crud" (the title is taken from a line in the Steve Martin movie, The Jerk) relaxes the mood with a swing tune that features a piano solo reminiscent of Dave Brubeck or Vince Guaraldi.

A driving bass and drum figure opens "Sean Swings the Bat". "The title", Sensinger says, "refers to an expression some of my friends were using at the time for confessing your romantic feelings to a woman. It's a very bright, up-tempo tune, conveying a sense of both anxiety and excitement. A sense of psyching yourself up to step out on faith and attempt something great, even at the risk of getting hurt."

With the neo-Baroque, Zappa-esque "Have a Seat, Funny Guy" Sensinger takes a slight detour away from the traditional quartet set up, dropping the piano and bass in favor of vibraphone, marimba, hammered dulcimer, and drums. A brisk opening statement in 5/16 is soon answered by a section of 3-part polyrhythmic counterpoint with alternating bars of 7/16 and 5/16 in the vibraphone and marimba, and the dulcimer playing the third line over top in 3/4. "I listened to a lot of Stan Kenton in High School," Sensinger recalls. "My favorite tunes were always the Hank Levy charts. Levy, of course, never wrote anything in 4/4. About this I time was also exposed to the Brubeck Quartet's legendary album Time Out. Deconstructing the different divisions of rhythm in tunes like 'Blue Rondo a la Turk', 'Take Five', and 'Unsquare Dance' had a profound effect on me. It showed me that it was possible to write in asymmetric meters without sounding weird."

"4. 'So after I knocked over the vase and flowers, my mom said "No More Kickboxing".'" (Top Ten Things Overheard In Line For Kickboxer II) Thus is the mood set for this dark bossa-nova. Set in the brooding key of G minor, the solo section features forays into double-time samba to allow for some real keyboard pyrotechnics. "I sat down at the piano one day and tapped the motif that would become the opening theme," Sensinger recalls. "The rest of the tune pretty much wrote itself-- the counter theme, the harmony, everything. The whole thing took me about 10 minutes. Would that I could write like that more often..."

"Kaleidogyn" is, at first glance, a straight ahead 32-bar bebop tune in the tradition of Bird, Trane, and Miles. Hidden towards the end of the "A" section, however, are a series of modal interchange chords whose placement and movement are more associated with modal jazz, and even rock. About this piece Sensinger says: "In college, I once played a tape of some of compositions for one of my professors. A lot of it sounded pretty traditional, harmonically speaking. He smiled, nodded his head and said 'It's nice to hear some music from the "Old Guard".' When I protested that I was too young to be considered in such esteemed company, he thought for a moment and said 'You're the New Old Guard'. I think 'Kaleidogyn' is a perfect example of what he was talking about: a classical jazz form with a hint of a new voice."

The final track, "Where's Tetsu?" (dedicated to the keyboard player of one Sensinger's first bands)is a warm Jazz Waltz that provides a fitting coda to this musical effort.



to write a review

Phil McKenna (aka The Owl Watches)

Breakfast of Champions!!!!
After having personally bought a copy from the artist himself, I set about giving it a good thorough coherent listening over breakfast the next morning.

What came out is an interesting paradox, an easily digestible, yet unique and challenging in it's own quirky way! Contemporary jazz with subtle twists not normally found in something this easily digested, and best yet, it leaves the listener satisfied!!

If I could offer any suggestions, I'd say, Mark, break out your horns for the next one!!!

A great first effort!


great first effort - hoping for more soon
This album resonates with rhythms and melodies of classic jazz blended with freshness and a pleasant, unsuspecting livliness. The tracks in this inaugural CD are different enough from one another that the second or third time through is almost more pleasant than the first. Until there's more from this new artist, I'm parking here for a while.